Del Piero and Juventus: Finally Separated!
After almost two decades, Alessandro Del Piero’s 19 years with Juventus came to an end during the Coppa Italia final against Napoli. His departure was a disappointing one on multiple fronts since Juve lost their first official match of the season, could not add a 10th Coppa Italia trophy to their record haul (currently tied on 9 trophies with Roma) and he failed to score a goal in his last game game as a Bianconeri player.
However, Del Piero’s career in Turin witnessed a long list of positive moments highlighted by a series of records. Below is a list of some of the highlights in the legend’s long union with the Old Lady:
a) Appearance Records: Del Piero has multiple records with the club when it comes to matches played. He is the all-time appearances leader with 705 games in Bianconeri colors. He is also the leader in terms of matches played with Juve in both Serie A and the various UEFA club competitions.
b) Goals: Del Piero is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 289 goals in all competitions. He holds Juve records for goals scored in both Serie A and the Champions League with 208 and 44 goals respectively.
c) Top Scorer: Alessandro is the second player ever (after Paolo Rossi) to win scoring titles in consecutive seasons in different Italian divisions. Del Piero was top scorer in Serie B with 20 goals in 2007 then followed that by being top scorer in Serie A in 2008 with 21 goals. He was also top scorer in the Champions League during the 1997-98 season.
d) Loyalty: When Juve were relegated due to Calciopoli, Del Piero did not leave the Turin club unlike many of the other notable names in the squad. While some were sold by the club to raise funds following a difficult season caused by the forced relegation, others tried to force their way out. However, Del Piero chose to stay with the Bianconeri and the club supporters never forgot that gesture by the legendary player.
e) Del Piero Zone: Alessandro became famous over the years for scoring some wonderful goals from a certain area on the pitch. He would approach the penalty box from the left flank before unleashing a wonderful curler into the top corner. Watch this video to see some of Del Piero’s goals, including a few of those stunning strikes from the Del Piero Zone.
f) Titles: Del Piero won almost everything with the Bianconeri, including Serie A on 6 occasions (that is excluding the two revoked titles which would have brought his tally to a remarkable 8!). He won the Champions League once but was on the losing end on three occasions which must be one of his greatest disappointments along with the demotion to Serie B. He also lifted the Coppa Italia once and was a runner-up on three other times.
While Del Piero’s achievements with Juve have been remarkable, he has also witnessed success on the international level with the Azzurri. He won the World Cup in 2006 when he scored what is to date the last goal in World Cup history. He scored Italy’s second goal in the 2-0 win over Germany at the end of extra-time.
Del Piero ranks among Italy’s most capped and best scoring players. He played for the Azzurri 91 times and managed to score 27 goals. He is also one of just six players who have participated in four European championships with their national team.
It is hard discussing Del Piero without talking about the impact the player has had beyond his performances on the pitch. He has earned wide respect not just for his goals and successes on the field but also for his respectful approach towards teammates, opponents and coaches as well as his loyalty to the club he represented for over 19 years.